Will benefit changes affect me?

The benefit changes described here only affect people of working age (below Pension Credit age).

Under-Occupancy Charge ('Bedroom Tax')

If you have a spare bedroom, your housing benefit could be cut.  

If you have one ‘spare’ bedroom and you claim housing benefit, it will be reduced by 14% of the rent and any eligible service charges. If you have two or more spare bedrooms, you will lose 25%. 

Read our factsheet for more information or work out if you might be affected by using the Citizens Advice Bedroom Tax Calculator.

Benefit Cap

If you’re out of work, the overall amount of benefit you can receive will be capped. 

The overall amount of benefit you can receive will be lowered from 7 November 2016. Find out more information on who's affected in our Benefit Cap factsheet.

You can work out if you might be affected by using the Gov.uk Benefits Cap Calculator. If you are affected, find out what you can do.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a huge change. It replaces a range of working-age benefits and tax credits and is paid to people in a new way - as one monthly Universal Credit payment (including money for rent). Claims are made online at www.gov.uk/universal-credit.

It is coming in slowly, but the plan is for everyone who is eligible to moved over to Universal Credit by the end of 2017.

Universal Credit is one benefit for everyone, whatever their employment status. It’s intended to make things simpler, by managing people’s benefits from one central place. It should also make it easier for people receiving benefits to move in and out of work.

Universal Credit will replace:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment Support Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit

Universal Credit will not include:

  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Carer’s Allowance
  • Contributory Benefits
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Passported Benefits (such as free School Meals and Free Prescriptions)


This short film by the independent Money Advice Service explains how you can get ready for Universal Credit.